Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Ciaccio-Stevens.
Matthew, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Local Deadbeat Agency was always sort of an idea of mine as I was in college studying small business management. It was 2016 and I was in between jobs, and I would get hired out by friends’ moms to do handyman jobs for them and their friends. Basically, one morning I was cleaning this guy’s garage out and it was incredibly hot that day, and the guy I was working for was an absolute jerk. After he left me I was like, I should make business cards for all this deadbeat labor.. and I was like, oh yeah! The Local Deadbeat. I had been going over apparel ideas for months prior to this moment but couldn’t ever think of an original name for it and at that moment it clicked. I never did another odd job for them and put pen to paper on what is now Local Deadbeat Agency. Started in September 2016, with 55 shirts, 15 hat and 40 cassettes of a compilation I had made of 10 local Orange County bands that I had been following through small DIY shows.
When I would attend shows, even in high school, I always was a sucker for the physical music that could be held. Even the burnt CDs from their mom’s computer would be something (and still is) I’d buy in a heartbeat. Since this start, we’ve put out thousands of shirts, hats and are currently working on our 12th cassette release. We’ve held near 100 shows over the span of three years, and have held charity benefit shows that have also raised thousands for various organizations. Today Local Deadbeat Agency has been recognized by various artists ranging from Orange County to Paris, Germany and all across the US. If there’s anything we can do for a band; from hosting shows, helping them with merch, or even just offering advise on how to ship stuff we will do it. Recently this year we booked our first tour with Dive at Dawn (OC Pop Punk) and are planning another small one for 2020.
Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth would be the farthest thing from it. This was something that when I started, I said that I would do it until it stops being something I enjoy. There are countless nights where I sit up at 2, 3 in the morning trying to design show flyers, email bands back who are trying to book their tour for the next month. When I started this, I was still in college full time and working a job that would lead to full time. My Mom says I like to burn the candle at both ends. The clothing end of Deadbeat ends up being the lesser of the stress. We retail in Programme Skate and Sound in Fullerton, and on our webstore. The music end of Deadbeat usually ends up being where my daily attention goes. As Local Deadbeat Agency has grown, so has the need for bands all over who want to play a show for us. I currently average 50 hour weeks at my “Big boy job” and do deadbeat when I get home. In December of 2017, I was diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression and was put on antidepressants to help. I remember going in for the appointment and having my Doctor ask me about what I do, and after telling him everything he calmly said, “you have an incredibly high amount of stress, for anyone.
A normal stress-load is probably half of what you’re dealing with” and that always kinda stuck with me. I think mental health is important and needed the attention. I am still currently receiving treatment for it. I am blessed to work with creatives who understand the situation and respect it if I take a day or two to respond. Fortunately for me, I’ve got an incredible support system in my corner, making some of the bad days better and the good days great. My girlfriend Cierra attends every one of the shows and runs our merch table. She’s basically established a well-oiled inventory system too (which I may or may not have messed up a time or two). Other than the physical support I receive, she’s the mental backing that helps motivate me through those stressful 2 A.M nights.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Local Deadbeat Agency is most known for the work done in the OC DIY Music scene. We book out primarily Programme Skate & Sound and Beatnik Bandito Music Emporium. We host concerts in these spaces featuring every type of genre of music possible. Primarily focused in the Pop Punk, Emo and Hardcore scenes, and usually try to do anywhere from 2-5 shows a month. I guess what sets us apart is just the work put into making sure everything is a well-running machine. With these shows, there will be set times, load in times, etc. that are all handled by us. Venues have curfews and we’re there to enforce those and to make sure everyone is getting along. Honestly, I’m most proud of how far it has come as a company. I’ve been blessed to have been on two separate Vans Warped Tour years, It’s Not Dead Fest 2, and Surf City Blitz. For being a little guy in a big pond, those are huge accomplishments that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own without the help from Chris at Programme. Really, being able to host a show and have all the bands say “thanks for doing this, we’re stoked for the next deadbeat gig” is just the best feeling ever. The gratitude I receive makes me wake up every day and decide that, yes, this is exactly what I would like to continue doing. We also have pretty high-quality merch that doesn’t break the bank. I think everyone wants to be a streetwear company and sell shirts for fifty dollars and make supreme bricks and really, bricks would be cool, but it isn’t our thing. We run a transparent business and offer bands and customers a straightforward experience in whatever it is they’re apart of.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The OC DIY scene has definitely seen its better days. There are fewer people doing what I do: do to either lack of interest or just growing out of it. People I meet for the first time are usually surprised at how long I’ve been doing it. I guess a lot of people give up. Room to improve is easy to say, but hard to execute successful. If someone was starting out, I’d tell them to first get involved in their local music scene and figure out some of the workings. Make friends and just talk with people, bands and the people running the gig. Most people will be happy to offer advice. The solution is not all on the fans or all on the bands. There needs to be communication on both ends of the spectrum while being at an understand at what both people wish to accomplish. We all share the same goals. And as far as the clothing deal, One of my first semesters back in college after starting deadbeat had a marketing class in which the teacher went on to say, “there are two businesses you never want to start: 1. Opening a restaurant and 2. Starting a clothing company. That professor ended up retiring in 2018 but was one of the biggest encouragements in starting deadbeat. They really believed in me and what I was doing. Do what you love, but do it with a realistic perspective.
- Those cassette comps mentioned are all $4.99
- Shirts, Hats, Hoodies, Etc Vary from $4.99-$29.99
- Occasionally we add free sticker packs to the inventory
- Website: localdeadbeatagency.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @LocalDeadbeatCA
- Facebook: facebook.com/LocalDeadbeatCA
- Twitter: @LocalDeadbeatCA